After rav reviews, Alison and I decided to hit up Istanbul. One of her college friends works there often too, so we were able to meet up with him. Turkey is a majority Muslim country, but is secular. The religion however is very visible, such as with the prayer call that goes off from the minaret (the top of mosque's) throughout the day. The food was probably some of my favorite in Europe, but don't try and order a beer with your lunch (opps). Drinking is prohibited in the Muslim religion and thus most of the city doesn't imbibe until later on at night. One day we headed to a Turkish bath, which is a story in itself. For now, let's say Ali and I know each other more intimately, haha. We also took a boat ride out to the islands. Sort of the Turkish equivalent of NY's Fire Island. In sum, Istanbul is lively, upbeat, interesting (and hilly) and worth a visit if you're ready to dig into the culture.
I apologize for the lack of captions and order with these photos!